Negaunee Miners hold off hard-charging Gladstone girls basketball team, 44-27

Negaunee’s Madysen Kontio, top right, skies for a rebound over teammate Chloe Norman, below, and Gladstone’s Maddie Ahlgren during their game in Gladstone on Tuesday. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Avery Bundgaard)

GLADSTONE — The Negaunee High School girls basketball team held off several Gladstone runs to defeat the Braves 44-27 in a nonconference game on Tuesday night.

The Miners (10-2) cruised to a 10-2 lead in the first quarter. Gladstone (5-10) cut the deficit to 10-9 in the second quarter before Negaunee went on another 10-2 run to take a 20-11 lead at halftime.

“I thought our defense was pretty good,” Miners coach Brandon Sager said. “We competed hard and followed our game plan. We got a little bit frazzled offensively but nonetheless, I thought our defense was the key for us.”

Braves coach Eric Lundin credited Negaunee’s defense while also mentioning his team’s mediocre shooting. Gladstone shot 12 of 39 for 31 percent.

“I thought we played hard and competed with them for most of the game,” Lundin said. “Negaunee’s a great basketball club. We didn’t hit some shots that we usually make and part of it is their defense. At the end of the day we’ve got to make shots and we didn’t do that.”

The Miners led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter and took a 33-23 advantage heading into the final quarter. The Braves got within eight in the fourth quarter until Negaunee rattled off an 11-2 run to close out the game.

“Their focus is pretty good as far as battling back and holding teams off,” Sager said. “I think our defensive end is what keeps it going for us.”

Senior Madysen Kontio led the Miners with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Aleda Johnson added 10 points for Negaunee.

“Madysen Kontio had a big game for us,” Sager said. “She had a double-double for us tonight with 12 points and 10 rebounds. She definitely had our best game.”

Junior Kaitlyn Hardwick led the Braves with 10 points while senior Alyssa Polley dished out six assists.